“HE’S SUCH A LOSER!”
IS IT OK TO JUDGE YOUR FRIEND’S RELATIONSHIP?
Rumour has it, Taylor Swift never approved of Selena Gomez dating Justin Bieber. But when pictures of her sticking out her tongue as Gomez gave Bieber a kiss at the Billboard Music Awards went viral, it was clear she was not a Belieber.
Sure, our friend’s partners might not wear gas masks in public or write seriously inappropriate things at the Anne Frank House (we hope not, at least!), but we’ve all had our fair share of eye-rolling moments when it comes to our BFF’s BF. But before you show your blatant disdain, ask yourself these questions. There are many reasons why people get attached, and not all of them involve staying together forever and ever. If she’s in it for the fun, leave things be. Why risk hurting her feelings when the relationship is going to be short-lived? Regard it the same way you would if your friend were to spend a fortune on what you think is a really ugly bag – you know it’s not that her taste is bad. It’s that we all have our moments of weakness. Some day she’ll regret it, and the two of you will have a good laugh when that day comes. You know how some proud parents never think anyone is good enough to date their children? Sometimes, we can be that overprotective (and annoying) figure in our friend’s life who think they can do better. While your intentions are good, you need to realise two things. Firstly, your expectations are unattainable – the thing about “doing better” is that you truly can always do better. Secondly, you need to respect your friend’s decisions. Constantly questioning her decisions assumes she is too dumb to think for herself – and that’s a real good recipe for resentment. There’s a difference between a guy who’s verbally abusive and one who has an annoying laugh. The former is toxic while the latter is most likely your pet peeve. You’re entitled to your peeves but you’re not entitled to share your views with your friend when it comes to her boyfriend. You might want the best for her, but what you define as best might not be what she’s after. In other words, you’re not the authority on what another person needs.
To ensure you’re not overstepping boundaries, objectively assess the damage your friend’s boyfriend is doing to her. You have grounds for real concern if he’s in any way unhealthy for her mental or physical well-being. But even in that case, your role is not to judge her relationship. People don’t stay in toxic relationships because they’re masochistic – in most cases, it’s because of deepseated issues like a fear of being alone. By riding your high horse with “Dump him” banners blazing, you’re simplifying the problem, and risk alienating your friend. Rather, help her see the harm it’s doing to her. Psychologist Dr. Jonathan Fader suggests asking your friend questions that will help drive home the reasons why the relationship is toxic, such as “Why do you want to stay?” or “What will your next five years be like if you stay?”. “Getting them to say it can be much more powerful than you telling them what’s wrong,” he advises.
SOURCE: SURVEY OF 2000 PEOPLE CONDUCTED BY LAUNDRY FIRM DR. BECKMANN.